Unearthing the Roots of Ancient Aragon

Mara Aranda & Solatge - Deria
Mara Aranda & Solatge – Deria
Mara Aranda & Solatge

Dèria (Galileo-MC, 2009)

Spanish singer Mara Aranda has been involved in some essential world music projects based in Spain’s eastern Mediterranean coast. She was a member of famed band L’Ham de Foc (Mediterranean world music) and Aman Aman (Sephardic). She is back with a new recording that focuses on the music of the ancient kingdom of Aragon. Before Spain became a unified nation, several Christian and Muslim kingdoms existed in the Iberian Peninsula. The kingdom of Aragon in eastern Spian included the current autonomous communities of Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia and the Balearic Islands. The languages spoken in ancient Aragon were derived from Latin and included Castilian (what we currently know as Spanish), Aranese, Catalan and Valencian.

Gifted with a prodigious and powerful voice, Aranda has compiled traditional folk songs from the various regions and gave them new life, with contemporary folk music arragements. The repertory includes Romances (ballads), cantos de trabajo (work songs), melodías de baile de bastones (melodies of cane dances), boleros, bailes de cabezudos (dances of large headed carnival figures), fandangos, and Aranese aubadas.

Aranda’s new band is called Solatge. It includes experienced virtuoso musicians from various parts of Spain and folk traditions, including Manolo López (bass),  Jota Martínez (bouzouki, cítola and zanfona) , Eduard Navarro (dulzainas, gaitas, moraharpa, lute and mandolin) and Josep Maria Ribelles (harp).

With Deria, Mara Aranda and Solatge introduce the listener to a brilliant amalgamation of the musics of the ancient kingdom of Aragon.

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. He was also the executive producer of the first Latino feature film made in North Carolina titled “Los sueños de Angélica.”.

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